New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the installation of skeleton speed boards on two New York City streets in Brooklyn and Queens, the first in a series of citywide installations to call dramatic attention to the potentially fatal consequences of exceeding the city’s 30 m.p.h. speed limit.The signs, temporarily located on the southbound side of 4th Avenue between 38th and 39th streets in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and westbound Horace Harding Expressway and Xenia Street in Elmhurst, Queens, display speeds and also an image of a skeleton if vehicles exceed the posted limit along these two corridors with histories of excessive speeding. The speed boards will be rotated to other locations with similar speeding issues as part of the agency’s ongoing focus to make New York City’s streets safer through its comprehensive “That’s Why It’s 30” anti-speeding safety campaign. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced the skeleton speed boards last month when he joined United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Commissioner Sadik-Khan to highlight new traffic-safety initiatives designed to further drive down already record-low traffic fatalities and injuries in New York Cityin conjunction with the U.N.’s launch of its Decade of Action for Road Safety campaign.
“Speeding is a menace that endangers everyone on our streets, and it is particularly deadly for pedestrians,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “These speeds boards deliver the equally chilling message that speeding kills and slowing down can save lives.”
“One way or another, we need to get the message across to drivers that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem,” said New York City Council Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca. “My Committee has been working hand in hand with DOT to slow down speeders in all five boroughs, and these new speed boards are another piece of the puzzle, reminding lead-footed motorists that speeding truly does kill.”
Specially created for DOT with the help ofThe Barbarian Group, the skeleton speed boards display an LED image of a skeleton next to the words “Slow Down” if a passing motorist exceeds the 30 m.p.h. These new speed boards supplement traditional speed boards that display speeds of passing motorists. Earlier this spring, DOT unveiled the first set of temporary speed boards, which are being phased throughout the city, at locations including Bruckner Boulevard/Kearney Avenue in the Bronx; Richmond Avenue on Staten Island; and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Manhattan.
DOT recently conducted speed studies at the skeleton speed boards’ locations and found that 88% of vehicles traveling westbound on Horace Harding Expressway between 108th and Xenia streets were speeding, with speeds recorded up to 48 m.p.h. DOT also recorded vehicles moving as fast as 44 m.p.h. southbound and 43 m.p.h. northbound on Fourth Avenue. More than half of vehicles in each direction were exceeding the speed limit.
The new speed boards add to a growing portfolio of safety tools designed to educate New Yorkers about the safety rationale behind the city’s standard 30 m.p.h. speed limit. In DOT’s Pedestrian Safety Report and Action Plan, surveys showed that more than two-thirds of New Yorkers did not know the 30 m.p.h. speed limit in the city. DOT’s “That’s Why It’s 30” advertising campaign was developed to build awareness and change behavior by focusing on a key statistic that highlights the danger of speeding: If a pedestrian is hit by a car traveling 40 m.p.h. or faster, there’s a 70% chance that the pedestrian will be killed; at 30 m.p.h., there’s an 80% chance that the pedestrian will live.
The Pedestrian Safety Study & Action Plan also maps out a series of new strategies to enhance safety through engineering, including the installation of pedestrian countdown signals at 1,500 locations citywide and piloting a residential slow speed zone in Claremont section of the Bronx, among others. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/dot.